I've always said that one of the best things about the CT music scene is its diversity. There are so many different little sub-genres represented all over the state. There really are dozens of bands that don't sound like any other band actively recording/playing out in the state. One of those bands is Meriden's Farewood.
I had the pleasure of seeing Farewood live for the first time at this year's Meriden Daffodil Festival, which also happened to be a sort of de facto CD release party as their newest album, Wings of Gold, was hot off the presses. (We also had the pleasure of filming part of their set that's going to air as part of our Live & Local series on May 13 on WCCT - plug, plug.) After their set a friend turned to me and described them as having an "angsty retro 90's vibe". I thought that was pretty apropos in the best of ways. Their sound really is an amalgamation of all the best that 90's indie rock/"alternative" had to offer. It's a little dark, a little dangerous. You get equal parts uplifted and contemplative when you sit down and really give it a good listen.
Their Facebook page lists their influences and, among others, bands like The Sundays and The Cocteau Twins show up. When you listen to this album you can absolutely hear the influence of both those artists, but I would also say Farewood is a little darker and a lot less poppy than either of those bands. They also list The Afghan Wigs and now I think we are getting a little closer to home. For me though the first band that came to mind was UK's Doves (and yes I know the first Doves album wasn't released until 2000). It has that sort of soaring, experimental post-Britpop/alt rock vibe that Doves has made a career off of. The fact that Farewood's vocals also alternate almost equally between male and female make me think a little about Mazzy Star too at certain points on the album, but Farewood are much less shoegazey and more progressive in their songwriting.
Regardless of how you want to characterize them, Farewood has cobbled together a really well written and well produced album. The best part may be that they can pull it off in the live setting. A band will always get bonus kudos from me when that happens. This album was defintiely worth the wait and I hope to see more of them in the near future.